• Flying carsUber picks Dallas, Fort Worth as test cities for flying vehicle network

    By Brandon Formby

    Uber is looking to North Texas as a testing ground for its initiative to make intra-urban flying vehicle rides a reality. The company announced Tuesday that Dallas and Fort Worth are its first U.S. partner cities for what its dubbing the “Uber Elevate Network.” The company hopes to have the first demonstration of how such a network of flying, hailed vehicles would work in three years. The company also tapped a Dallas real estate development firm and Fort Worth’s Bell Helicopter to develop pick-up and drop-off sites for electric vehicles that would take-off and land vertically.

  • Cow avoidanceAutomated, real-time automobile cow-avoidance device

    India has the second largest road network in the world, and a large number of traffic accidents: 1 in 20,000 people die there in a road traffic accident, and 12 in 70,000 are seriously injured in such accidents. India also has a large number of cows roaming streets and roads, and a large number of incidents in which cars run into loitering cows. India researchers have developed a real-time automatic obstacle detection and alert system which determines whether an object near the vehicle is an on-road cow and whether or not its movements represent a risk to the vehicle. If the cow poses a risk to the vehicle, an audio or visual indicator then alerts the driver to apply the brakes.

  • Earthquake early warningEarthquake early warning vital for city transit

    Although no one can reliably predict earthquakes, today’s technology is advanced enough to rapidly detect seismic waves as an earthquake begins, calculate the maximum expected shaking, and send alerts to surrounding areas before damage can occur. This technology is known as “earthquake early warning” (EEW). An EEW system called “ShakeAlert” is being developed and tested for the West Coast of the United States.

  • TerrorismAt least nine killed in St. Petersburg metro bombing

    At least nine people have been killed and about fifty more injured when a bomb exploded on a train in St. Petersburg. An explosive device went off at 2:20 p.m. local time on a train leaving the Technology Institute station and heading to the Sennaya Ploshchad station. All train travel in the St. Petersburg area has been suspended, and Russian security services found and defused another explosive device at the Ploschad Vosstaniya station.

  • Law enforcementPolice say they lack powers to probe phone involvement in crashes

    Four out of five collision investigators surveyed for the research indicated mobile phone involvement in non-fatal accidents was under-reported, with half agreeing the role of phones was even overlooked in fatal crashes. Police officers are worried they lack the right powers and resources properly to investigate whether a mobile phone was being used by a driver at the time of a crash, a new study has found.

  • DecontaminationCleaning concrete contaminated with chemicals

    In March 1995, members of a Japanese cult released the deadly nerve agent sarin into the Tokyo subway system, killing a dozen people and injuring a thousand more. This leads to the question: What if a U.S. transportation hub was contaminated with a chemical agent? The hub might be shut down for weeks, which could have a substantial economic impact. Craig Tenney, a chemical engineer at Sandia National Laboratories, is looking for better ways to clean contaminated concrete to reduce that impact.

  • BioterrorismTesting NYC subway biodefenses

    Researchers took to the New York City subway system 9-13 May to study how a surrogate for a biological agent, such as anthrax, might disperse throughout the nation’s largest rapid transit system as a result of a terrorist attack or an accidental release. The study is part of a five-year DHS project called Underground Transport Restoration (UTR) and was conducted in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

  • Earthquake early warningJapan’s successful earthquake early warning system offers lessons to U.S. high-speed rail

    As California and other states move forward with high-speed rail plans, some have questioned the system’s ability to withstand earthquakes. This is especially critical in California, an active quake zone. A recent research report says that valuable lessons are easily adapted from Japan’s successes with its early earthquake warning (EEW) systems. This was most recently demonstrated during the series of violent quakes that shook Japan in mid-April, 2016.

  • BioterrorismAirflow study to be conducted in NYC Subway

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) will conduct a week-long airflow study in portions of the New York City (NYC) subway system to gather data on the behavior of airborne particles in the event contaminants were released. This study poses no risk to the general public and will run from 9 to 13 May.

  • Terrorism & transportationTerrorists have been targeting transportation hubs for decades

    More than 7,400 terrorist attacks worldwide between 1970 and 2014 targeted some form of transportation, including airports and aircraft, representing 5.3 percent of all terrorist attacks. More than 460 targets of terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2014 were airports, representing 6.4 percent of all transportation targets. More than 130 targets of terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2014 were subway systems, representing 1.9 percent of all attacks on transportation targets.

  • Cybersecurity Navigations systems are vulnerable to hackers

    When it comes to route planning, drivers have almost blind faith in GPS. The technology plays an important role in identifying location and time in other areas, too. If hackers attack the system, they can cause great damage. Information security researches look to develop defensive measures.

  • Quick takesRail safety delays; Chicago’s trigger-happy police; killing Bangladeshi bloggers

    In October the Congress agreed to extend the deadline for installing the systems to 2018, but earlier this month Congress extended the deadline for deploying speed-control systems yet again, this time until the end of 2020; By June 2016, all Chicago police officers will be equipped with non-lethal Tasers. The move is part of a plan by city authorities to curb the sharp rise in the number of people – all of them African Americans — killed by police shooting; in 2015 alone, at least four pro-democracy bloggers and a publisher were murdered while others went into hiding, or fled abroad, prompting widespread calls for protection of free speech in Bangladesh from the threat of radical Islamists.

  • Coastal resilienceRail line service disruptions caused by sea level rise to increase dramatically

    Rail services to and from the South West of England could be disrupted for more than 10 percent of each year by 2040 and almost a third by 2100, a new study suggests. The cost of maintaining tracks and sea defenses could also soar as predicted sea level rises, coupled with coastal storms and floods, pose major challenges for rail operators and governments.

  • CybersecurityProtecting vehicles from cyberattacks

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded two grants for the development of technologies that can help defend government and privately owned vehicles from cyberattacks. “Modern vehicles are no longer purely mechanical systems,” said Dr. Dan Massey, S&T Cyber Physical Systems Security (CPSSEC) Program Manager. “Today’s vehicles have interdependent cyber components used for telematics, conveniences, and safety-critical systems. A stealthy adversary could gain access to a vehicle’s cyber components and remain completely hidden until initiating a widespread attack.”

  • Car hackingResearching cyber vulnerabilities in computer-controlled cars may violate copyright law

    The advent of computer controlled, Internet-capable vehicles is offering fertile new ground to hackers. Groups of “white hat” hackers have already demonstrated the vulnerabilities inherent in the new cars’ computer systems – by taking control over a car from ten miles away. One problem in addressing the issue is that the control software is proprietary, and is owned by the developers, and researching it to uncover flaws may be a violation of copyright laws.